Can foreigners coming to Poland use the services of the public health care? And if not in the public institutions, are there private health care facilities where foreigners can find assistance in case of sickness? For answers to these questions, scroll down. With foreign residents of Wroclaw in mind, we brought together some general principles of health care in Poland.
To use health care services free of charge, you must be insured in the National Health Fund. On the other hand, all persons employed in Poland, including foreigners, are subject to mandatory health insurance, which means that a contribution to the National Health Fund is "automatically" discharged from their monthly salary (usually it's done by the employer). Then, you should sign up with a local clinic of your choice that would provide the required medical services for you. When registering, it is worth remembering that members of the insured person's immediate family can also use the medical services available to the payer, if they have no other proof of insurance (such information should be reported when choosing a NFZ medical facility).
And what if you don't have medical insurance
Foreigners residing legally in Poland, who are not included in the compulsory health insurance should consider the option of voluntary insurance with the National Health Fund, to avoid paying the full cost of treatment in case of sudden illness or accident. To do this, please apply to one of the branches of the NFZ near your place of residence. In order to sign a contract with the NFZ, foreigners from outside the EU should also have one of the following documents, in addition to a passport:
- a visa in order to work;
- a temporary residence permit;
- a permanent residence permit;
- an EU resident long-term permit ;
- authorisation to stay for humanitarian reasons;
- a permit for tolerated stay under the refugee procedure;
- a proof of refugee status granted in Poland, or using a temporary protection on its territory.
After signing a contract with the NFZ, go to a branch or inspectorate of the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS), to submit a form ZUS ZZA, which you can print and deliver personally, or send by mail to a ZUS branch or inspectorate in your district.
In Poland, you can also use private medical services, but in this case, all the benefits paid, obviously. In Wroclaw, there are many private medical facilities providing a wide range of services - you can easily find them using a search engine. Many employees of Wroclaw companies, especially in the service sector, use these.
'I believe all companies that have so far invested in Wroclaw, or at least a vast majority of them, offer their employees benefit packages including private medical care. Depending on the employer, and a person's position or function held in the company, these packages include a wider or narrower range of services,' says Aleksandra Drozd Kłonowska with the Wrocław Agglomeration Development Agency. 'Several years ago, we conducted a survey among employees of the companies in the Wroclaw service sector that employ foreigners. In it, we surveyed, among others, the employees' experience related to the use of public health services. Most respondents indicated that, mainly due to the long waiting times for consultations with the selected specialists, they use only the private medical care. There were also opinions that doctors in public institutions are competent and knowledgeable, and the 112 emergency medical assistance is comprehensive and professional,' she adds.